The Most Controversial Women's College Match Was Re-Wrestled

The Most Controversial Women's College Match Was Re-Wrestled

Koral Sugiyama and Nicole Depa had to re-wrestle the second period of a match after both sides thought they had won.

Jun 19, 2024 by Kyle Klingman
The Most Controversial Women's College Match Was Re-Wrestled

Imagine a match that ends in controversy and both sides are right. 

That’s what happened during the 136-pound semifinal match between Simon Fraser’s Nicole Depa and Campbellsville’s Koral Sugiyama at the 2017 WCWA Championships. Neither side was wrong, but only one could advance to the finals. 

The Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) was still the end-of-season championship, and the NAIA and NCAA were two years away from a split. Cross-divisional match-ups and multiple wrestlers from each school were commonplace during the formative years of women’s college wrestling.

That’s why it was no surprise that Simon Fraser (NCAA) and Campbellsville (NAIA) had two wrestlers in the 136-pound bracket. Kayla Miracle — daughter of Campbellsville coach Lee Miracle — was the top seed after winning the previous two championships. 

Sugiyama and Depa were returning All-Americans at 130 but didn’t face each other in 2016.

At the 2017 WCWAs, Depa defeated Emmanuel’s Abby Nette, 8-2, in the quarterfinals. Nette eventually transferred to Campbellsville and won the 2020 WCWAs for Miracle. Sugiyama pinned Fran Giorgio, Depa’s teammate.

"We're Going To Hogwarts!"

The winner of Depa vs Sugiyama would face Kayla Miracle in the finals, but there was more on the line for the Campbellsville stars.

“My freshman year, (Lee) Miracle made a deal with Kayla and me that if we both won nationals he would send us to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal in Orlando. When we both decided to go 136 my sophomore year, he amended it to us both making the finals.”

Depa held an 8-6 lead in the semifinals when Sugiyama hit a headlock with 10 seconds left and held the position for the duration. The Campbellsville star jumped to her feet and pointed at her coach since both thought they won 8-8 on criteria. 

“I only remember the last 30 seconds where I knew I needed to score, and when I hit my head-and-arm I saw my corner explode with excitement,” Sugiyama said. “When I got off the mat after my semifinal match, Kayla and I were yelling at each other that we were going to Hogwarts.”

Lodging A Protest

Things got messy from there. 

Mike Parrish, the father of Depa's teammate Dom Parrish, was convinced that the criteria were entered wrong so he encouraged Simon Fraser coach Mike Jones to take action. 

“The referee, notorious in women’s wrestling, overturned Trackwrestling’s scoring,” Parrish said. “Depa had 4-2-2 and Sugiyama had 4-2-1-1. Mike Jones issued a protest — his only one in history — and they had to wrestle the second period over the next day. 

“I had to buy a Trackwrestling Gold membership at the tournament to see the scoring breakout to enable the challenge. There was an ugly conversation with the head referee. It was a huge black eye. Imagine having to wrestle a single period in a semifinal match at the men’s D1 tournament because the referee screwed up something that basic.

"Depa gave me a big hug when it was all over."

You're Not Wrong

Here is how both sides are right.

Simon Fraser: Depa won, but the referee overroad Trackwrestling. He thought the last points scored were greater than the largest score. In reality, 4-2-2 beats 4-2-1-1 regardless of the order.

Trackwrestling had the winner correctly shown but the referee disagreed and held up Sugiyama's hand.

Campbellsville: Sugiyama was awarded two points on a headlock but Miracle would have challenged the call as a four-point throw had he known she was behind on criteria. 

“That was some crazy stuff,” Lee said. “I had confirmed with the table who had criteria so in my mind we had criteria and we were going to win. Koral threw her at the end and I knew we were good with criteria. We wrestled like that to go for the win or else we would have gone for more.

“We thought she won then they came back to us way later on. Once you leave the mat I thought it was over but I can also see the other side if I was them. The next thing I know we’re having a meeting about this whole thing and they decide to re-wrestle the second period.

“It was an amalgamation of different things that played into it. It was a hard situation for both sides.”

Sugiyama vs Depa, Part II

They re-wrestled the second period the following morning, and Depa won, 12-5. Lee and Kayla Miracle coached Sugiyama from the corner. When Depa won, she shook Kayla’s hand knowing she would face her hours later in the finals. 

“(Lee) Miracle told me that Simon Fraser protested the match and we would be re-wrestling the second period the next day,” Sugiyama said. “I didn’t ask any questions and just focused on the match in the morning.

“I don't remember wrestling the next day, but when I won my third-place match I do remember the weight of the tournament lifting.”

Miracle defeated Depa 10-0 in the finals for her third WCWA title, but the real loss was that Kayla and Koral didn’t get their trip to Hogwarts. 

“I would have gladly paid for that,” Lee said. “A great payday.”

Watch the original match and the re-wrestled second period below. Click here for full results from the 2017 WCWA Championships.

Semifinals: Koral Sugiyama vs Nicole Depa


Semifinals: Koral Sugiyama vs Nicole Depa (Re-Wrestled Second Period)

Kayla Miracle (Campbellsville)

YearDivision Weight Place

Koral Sugiyama (Campbellsville)

YearDivision Weight Place

Nicole Depa (Simon Fraser)

YearDivision Weight Place